Jesuit Novitiate
Novitiate of the Euro-Mediterranean Province of the Society of Jesus
Vista dal novziato

Vista dal novziato

Vista dal novziato


The view

02 Apr 2018

I could spend hours at my bedroom window, letting myself be carried away by the splendour of God’s creation.

The view is dominated by the nearby mountains, majestic but gentle, overlooking the city with silent but solid presence. These past few months they have been topped by a sprinkling of snow – an alien and curious substance for me, being used to the mild wet winters of perennially sunny Malta.

But perhaps they are at their most enchanting in the early hours of a balmy winter morning, wreathed in an infinitely soft quilt of clouds gently spilling over the mountain tops and sliding down the slopes, eventually melting away once they meet the warmth of the city.

So that if the mountains are the sculptures of a Master Artist, they are adorned by the strokes of His paintbrush: the romantic nostalgia of the morning clouds, the bold simplicity of a profoundly azure sky, the vibrant vivacity of a gloriously orange sun slowly dipping over the horizon to illuminate the distant snowy Alps and nearby scintillating sea…

And indeed Genoa calls the sea its life-blood, this strange and changeable expanse fading into infinity, a horizon full of promise made more enchanting by the shadowy silhouette of Corsica on clear days. And as the cargo-ships chug alongside the gaily decorated cruise-liners, navigating the narrow spaces of the harbour to finally ride the open sea – sometimes calm and azure, othertimes impishly choppy and turqouise – I cannot help but be reminded of the sea back home which coloured my childhood summers.

And right in the middle of this, cradled by the firm gentleness of the mountains, the infinite colours of the vaulted sky and the soulful sea, lies Genoa – a narrow but long patchwork of buildings radiating out from the harbour and marching slowly up the mountainsides. At night, it becomes a twinkling constellation of lights heralded to sailors far out at sea by the light house which guards the harbour entrance.

Looking at the multitude of tiny lights at night, I cannot help but be reminded of the countless souls that call this city their home. They are all – like the lights – small in comparison to the wonders of creation that surround them, but shine brightly as only true likenesses of God can. As the city is circumscribed by the Artist’s Masterpieces, so its inhabitants – and indeed, all of us – are cradled by the love and Spirit of God, made manifest in the wonders of nature and the reflection of the Infinite Presence that resides in the people around us…and in us.

Turning my gaze away from the macroscopic, shifting briefly to the green parakeets crooning in the branches of the pine and palm trees of the Novitiate garden, I return to the intimacy of my room, rejoicing with childlike delight at the exuberant and creative generosity of His love.

God saw it was very good

by Gianluca Severin

Among the experiences that characterize life in the novitiate are the outings that we experience together every week, walking in the nature surrounding the city.

When we arrive at the summit, under the deepest sky, on suspended peaks, surrounded by the mountains and the sea, our wonder blossoms into praise. The Lord passed through these woods, thoughtfully spreading a thousand graces, and gazing at them along the way, with his face alone, left them covered in beauty. Creatures are a footprint of God’s footsteps, thanks to which we perceive his greatness, power and wisdom. (Saint John of the Cross)

The heart unites us with every creature singing the joy of its existence, that proclaims His infinite creativity, His supreme wisdom, His eternal tenderness. An immense space opens up before us in which everything takes on the measure of infinite, and within us expands so much the desire for heights, for splendor, for freedom.

And here, without having asked, without having deserved, I am here too.

O LORD, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom hast thou made them all: the earth is full of thy riches [Psalm 104:24]

While the ear immerses itself in the silence, and notices the distant roar of a waterfall, the rustling of branches, the screech of a hawk, the sense of the sacred arises in us.

I respect very deeply and, at the same time, I retain the utmost intimacy in which He welcomes me; I am pervaded by an abysmal unworthiness and, at the same time, by the sweetest boldness when He approaches: “Don’t be afraid. It’s me”. Faced with the sublime, I am not afraid but attracted, in love; faced with the unknown I don’t fall silent but I dialogue about the deepest and most sincere things in life; faced with the infinite, I don’t run away but I entrust myself, I let be embraced; faced with mystery, I do not retreat but I open myself to friendship, to communion. And I perceive everything as work of God, myself as work of God, and God at work in life.

The Spirit of the Lord fills the universe, and embracing everything, knows every voice [Wis 1,7]

While we rest together among rocks that reach out to the sky, shaped and enlivened by the shining light, by the blowing wind, by the flowing water, we live not as servants, not as masters but as friends.

We share the journey, punctuated by the slow and persevering climb, and the pauses, the tiredness and the daring, the fatigue and the wonder. We share bread and water, a daily gesture, but which, after a common effort, is more frank and serene, it has a flavor of greater intimacy. We share the stories that everyone has to tell, the past that brought us here, the future that we glimpse on the horizon, the fears and passions, the laughter and the sadness, the doubts and enthusiasms. We share each other’s silent company. And I feel like I’m among brothers.

For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them [Mt 18:20]

By living these we save ourselves: in the praise, in the sacred, in the friendship of God, our salvation, the fullness of life, is already achieved.

God created human beings to praise, reverence, and serve God, and by doing this, to save their souls. God created all other things on the face of the earth to help fulfill this purpose [Principle and foundation of the Spiritual Exercise]


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